2018 Never Be Defeated Award Recipients

Amanda Badal

For the last 16 years, the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation has been one of our favorite customers. Each year we get to see the great impact they make in seeking to eradicate an enemy that affects far too many lives. At every Barndance, while serving each of you, we get to not only share our love for food but we also get to see what a party with a purpose is all about. Little did we know that the mission of The Gavers Foundation would impact us as a family until March, 2015, when my wife, Amanda, was diagnosed with Paget’s Disease, a rare form of Breast Cancer.

Since many of you don’t know Amanda, I want to share a little about the woman I get to call my wife. She is a loving wife and selfless mom who is active in our church and community. As a mom of our three boys — Noah, 15; Joshua, 12; Luke, 10 — Amanda invests her time making sure everyone in our family is taken care of. Whether it is proofreading homework assignments, managing our home, playing chauffeur and cheerleader at the multitude of sporting events and activities, subbing at our boys’ schools and even heading up the Women’s Ministries at our church, Amanda stays busy serving others. She does all of these things with a deep concern for those around her. She exudes a joy even in the most mundane of tasks and brightens the day of everyone she comes in contact with. We are blessed to have her as part of our family. She is the BEST!!! There is no quit in Amanda, and that was seen in the fall and winter of 2014 when she began to feel a great amount of fatigue and overall malaise. She chalked it up to some winter blues and knew that Chicago winters aren’t forever and with some sunny days things would get brighter.

What took place is nothing less than a picture of God’s providence and care for us. Against Amanda’s wishes, I participated in my High School Alumni Basketball Game, where I injured my knee and needed to see a doctor. While I was the patient and my knee was our main concern, the doctor noticed Amanda didn’t look her normal self. He wisely asked her some questions and gave orders for a complete workup to be done. The winter blues were not the problem, but severe anemia was to blame. This led to more doctor visits and check-ups with one being a mammogram.

For a 40-year old with no family history of breast cancer, this seemed like nothing too serious or concerning. What we thought was a routine procedure would radically change our lives. The mammogram would show malignancy throughout her breasts with the only remedy being a double mastectomy. The doctors were concerned by the widespread nature of the cells in the breast tissue. In less than four weeks, Amanda would undergo the first of many surgeries to address this cancer and put her on the road to full recovery. While this road would be long and difficult, Amanda would learn the full extent of her impact as family and friends from our church and community sought to do all they could to be a blessing and encouragement to our family. Amanda would say it was her faith in God and her family that helped sustain her through recovery and the anxious moments as new scares have come our way in recent days.

Amanda is doing great now and is active in serving all those around her. We are thankful for the great doctors and nurses who care and monitor her and for the fine people of The Gavers Foundation who champion and strive to help families like ours in finding a cure. Now a cancer survivor and with limited side effects with her ongoing treatment, Amanda is once again busy serving others. You will find her cheering her boys on from the bleachers and helping many others in our church and community as well as using her own cancer experience to serve others. She is a calm and warm friend who listens to the concerns of others facing their own cancer struggles, seeking to give them hope and help as they navigate the difficult road cancer brings to far too many. So now, catering the Barndance has taken on a special significance for the Badal family.

First, it is a reminder of why events and groups like Gavers are so badly needed in our world and second, it is a time to thank God for His protection and care of Amanda and finally, to do all we can to promote ways for people to help join the fight to eliminate this disease. Thank you to Steve and the entire foundation for all they do. Enjoy the party, but do not forget its purpose. We have learned this and will never be the same as a result.


Patti Devinger

Patti Devinger is a life-long resident of Woodstock, IL. She has spent that lifetime establishing deep roots in the community and fostering innumerable friendships. If you know her, she will be a fierce friend to have in your corner and loyal to a fault. She also has a close-knit family – husband Dave and daughter Tess, along with many family members living close by, including her father Bill Hansen, a Gaver’s Foundation Board member since its inception. Patti has always been an active outdoors-person. She loves jogging, hiking, kayaking, snow-shoeing, skiing, and many other activities.

With so many friends and family members, it will come as no surprise that she has seen many suffer from the ravages of cancer. For example, family member and friend Deb Brady- Hansen was diagnosed with breast cancer, which spread to her brain and ultimately took her life too early. Her good friend’s young daughter, Hope Fuller, was diagnosed with a rare childhood brain cancer. At a time when she should have been thinking about dances, boys, the prospect of high school and an exciting future, she was fighting what would end up being a losing battle to a non-discriminating disease. There is no question that cancer has made an unwelcome appearance in the lives of so many and it also goes without saying that cancer stinks.

Six years ago, cancer made an unwelcome appearance in Patti’s own life. She was an annual volunteer and attendee at the Gavers’ Barndance and took the often-repeated advice to get routinely checked. Her routine mammogram exposed a suspicious spot, which turned out to be breast cancer. The spot itself was deemed low-level cancer because it was encapsulated, and a quick recommendation of a lumpectomy was prescribed. Having been involved with Gavers Cancer Foundation for so many years and having witnessed others go through it, Patti sought a second opinion at Rush University. Rush took a series of additional x-rays and discovered another patch of aggressive cancer that was not encapsulated. It was situated close to her lymph nodes, where it could have easily spread to the rest of her system. With the new information from the second opinion, a double mastectomy was undertaken. Since the procedure, Patti has been cancer free for six years.

Patti remains a strong advocate for cancer awareness. She has been active with the Barndance for 19 successive years. She hopes to continue promoting awareness and providing support to those that are navigating the difficult road that a cancer diagnosis has forced them to travel.


Margie Stumpf

Margie was first diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2006. At that time, her 3 children were ages 5, 4 and 10 months. The tumor was small but aggressive, so Margie fought it aggressively with a double mastectomy and 4 months of chemotherapy. At that time, we were hopeful that the cancer hadn’t seemed to spread. Four years later, a large tumor recurred and fractured the base of her spine and quickly left her unable to walk for 6 weeks. The cancer was now metastatic, and this meant a diagnosis of incurable disease, but treatable. However, this also meant more chemotherapy. Over the next 8 years, Margie was treated with chemotherapy multiple times and supplemented with a constant mix of targeted therapies, oral chemotherapies, and two rounds of radiation treatments to her back and brain to attack the progression.

Margie’s Family

Margie has been married to Tom for almost 18 years and they have 3 amazing children. It is not easy for children to grow up almost their whole life with a Mom who has metastatic disease. But Daniel (17), Kathleen (15) and Caroline (12) are very special kids. They have adapted to the unstable world around them with profound grace, joy and fortitude. They have taken on roles and responsibilities ahead of their years. They have a great role model in Margie, who lives life to the fullest and does not dwell on sadness or negativity. Even when she’s not feeling well, she’s quick to joke, laugh and make their world fun, “as it should be,” she says. “They’re kids, they should be without constant worry and deserve the same happy childhood I had.” Margie attributes her strength to seeing the faces of her three smiling children every day and knowing that she wants to be in their lives for as long as she can. She has said many times that her three children are what makes her fight harder than she ever thought possible.

Margie’s Faith

Margie’s strong Catholic faith has guided her through her journey these last 12 years. Margie knew this was a cross she would bear for life, after watching her sister carry her own for a dozen years (they share the BRCA2 gene mutation). Margie’s constant prayer was that if there are any graces from this suffering, may they spare her daughters this disease. She knows God has set the path before her. In that, there is some peace that we will all be taken care of in His love. Margie’s ability to understand God’s greater purpose has allowed her to provide counsel to other women going through breast cancer. Whether it was the women next to her during chemotherapy or a family friend, Margie was there to share her experience and provide guidance in what to expect and how to find the inner strength to face breast cancer every day.

Rush

We are so grateful to the Gavers’ Foundation for their donations to Rush University’s Brian Piccolo Cancer Research fund for breast cancer. Margie has been treated at Rush for the past 12 years, by the best doctor we could ask for; Dr. Melody Cobleigh and her remarkable staff including Teri Dougherty, NP and all the clinical nurses.


Kariann Schuster

Kariann (Hill) Schuster was born on December 19th, 1988 and is the second youngest of six children. Her parents raised a family of athletes and Kariann would certainly be no exception. Name a sport and Kariann dominated it. She found her true passion playing softball and basketball. Given her talent for both sports, Kariann graduated high school and went on to play Division II Basketball at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She eventually transferred and played both basketball and softball at Blackburn College.

This paved the way for Kariann’s next venture in life, which was becoming a police officer. Her dream for connecting with the youth of the community became a reality. Kariann was regularly found engaging in “pickup” games of basketball in driveways throughout the city while in full uniform. The kids adore her. She is routinely recognized for the effort she puts forth in working with the youth in her community – she is credited with establishing her department’s first “Youth Citizen’s Police Academy.”

It was while on the job that Kariann met her husband Tim, a fellow police officer. Tim proposed to Kariann back in November of 2014. Only a few months after their engagement, Kariann confided in Tim that while completing what she referred to as a “self-check,” she found a lump in her right breast. She was 26 years old.

Convinced it was only a cyst, she went forward with making a doctor’s appointment but was ultimately referred to Gavers Breast Center for further evaluation. It was learned that Kariann needed to undergo a biopsy. On Friday, March 13, 2015, Kariann was diagnosed with stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (Breast Cancer). Although unexpected, Kariann and Tim would experience “in sickness and in health” before their wedding day.

Kariann’s family is credited with instilling perseverance and tenacity early on in her childhood. Unbeknownst to Kariann, these ingredients, fueled with the love and support she received from family and friends during this time, helped her navigate what stood before her.

Kariann underwent 6 months of chemotherapy with another 6 months of “maintenance” chemotherapy and had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. Kariann will be declared 3 years “cancer free” as of August 27th! In case you were wondering, Kariann and Tim were happily married in September of 2016 and will be looking forward to having little ones running around within the next couple of years.

A special thanks to Kariann’s team of Doctors (Dr. Liu, Dr. Schwaab, and Dr. Bushnick), Gavers Breast Center, First Descents, and GRIT!!


The Kischuk’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Kischuk was a loving husband and a devoted father to Isabella and Joshua. His family was his greatest pride and joy. He enjoyed his time with us to the fullest, never taking for granted how precious life is, and he treasured every moment. Despite Matt’s difficult battle with cancer, he drew his strength from God, never gave up hope, and made his family proud. When Matt was first diagnosed, he attempted to do it alone, without relying on his faith. He went through about a year of treatments without turning to Jesus, trying to do it under his own strength. It was a year of literal living hell in every possible way for us. He was so full of anger, resentment, fear, sheer terror of the unknown, lashing out at me and the kids and all those he loved, with impressive gusto shall we say. He could not get any joy out of life because of the crushing panic that consumed him.

Matt’s experience taught me several things about what marriage vows really mean. It means we don’t give up on our spouse, PERIOD. I was able to forgive him during that time because I love him and because God opened my eyes as to why he was reacting like this. So, instead of responding with anger, I could respond with love. And I never gave up on him or our marriage.

Matt has always been a stubborn man and was lukewarm if anything when it came to his faith. I could sometimes nag him to come to church with us but that was about it. After struggling through one year of cancer treatments on his own without seeking help from God, he had finally hit rock bottom. This was when he was told he only had a year left to live, if that. This is what it took for him to finally be desperate enough to turn to God for help.

But once he did, it was like a light went on. Almost instantly, his heart changed. For the first time in our lives, we prayed together as a couple and many may be surprised to hear that he started to read a daily devotional book that was given to us. We began to read the Bible every night together, which was an amazing blessing as a new bed time routine for us. Listening to my husband thank God for me and pray for our family was a profound experience and really strengthened our marriage, our faith, and our family. When we openly invited Jesus into our relationship every night in this way, there was definitely a marked difference in our married life from that day forward. It allowed us to give God our fears, worries, and anxieties, releasing us from that burden. It allowed us to enjoy all the good times we had together.

Matt suffered from a lot of anxiety and panic attacks over the years during his illness. When nothing else would calm him, including some very potent prescription drugs, I prayed out loud for him and read scriptures; it would instantly calm him. God’s Word transcends all suffering, 9 pain, and fear. People always ask me how I do it all and how I’m always so upbeat and not an emotional wreck dealing with all this. It’s no lie when I tell them it’s Divine Intervention. There’s just no other explanation.

God gave us an additional 2 ½ more years with Matt feeling relatively amazing, given the many treatments he went through. After all the things his body endured, he should have been bedridden. Instead, he was able to enjoy the extra time he was given to the fullest. He got to see Isabella learn to ride her bike. He got to watch Joshua play his first T-ball game (and by this I mean he got to watch Josh fill his mitt with dirt as the ball rolled right by him, but it was still pretty cute to see him all decked out in his uniform). We enjoyed so many family outings and adventures during this time.

At the end of this journey I heard a still voice in my heart say that this was never about healing Matt’s body, it was about healing his soul, and use this to glorify My Name. And that is what I intend to do. I know without a doubt that Matt is ok now and he is in the City of God. Regarding Barndance, Matt always loved coming to hear all the victory stories of people going through similar situations. He really valued how important all the fund raising was for research as without his two clinical trials he had great success. He had 34 tumors that metastasized to his brain and lungs when he was diagnosed but that didn’t stop him from battling like a warrior until the end, enduring many surgeries, countless chemo, clinical trials, and radiation. But never gave up hope for a cure. I myself work as a Pediatric nurse downtown and know from my professional as well as my personal experiences how important hope is. You need hope to keep going and I feel like that’s what this event gives people. He leaves behind his legacy, a 6 year old daughter and 4 year old son that were granted more time to know their father due to the grace of God and all the medical advances that events like this help to make possible.

They received more time to see for themselves what a hero he truly is, as summed up by our daughter’s recent school paper:

This hope will stay with her and I hope it stays with you. It is new advances in medical treatments made possible from fund raising and people all coming together toward one goal that lead to treatments that continue to give hope for a cure. That is why I truly value the work you all do so just felt like you should all know. Thank you. Laura Kischuk


2017 Never Be Defeated Award Recipients

Billy deCicco

Billy deCicco has always been a devoted family man and an outstanding member of his community. At the age of 89, he still works, runs his own company, and shows no signs of slowing down. Billy also has a passion for cancer awareness and research. A passion that sparked in him after losing a dear friend, Brian Piccolo, to cancer at the young age of 26.

Brian Piccolo was a running back with the Chicago Bears in the 1960s. He played only four short seasons before being diagnosed with embryonal cell carcinoma, a rare form of cancer that eventually took his life. Brian left behind his wife, Joy, and daughters Lori, Traci and Kristi. Soon after Brian’s death, Billy helped gather family, friends and NFL team mates with the goal of establishing a fund in Brian’s name. When Billy sets his mind to something, he makes it happen, and so The Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund was launched in 1970. What began as an impromptu fundraising initiative is now a thriving nonprofit organization that has raised more than $8.3 million for cancer research, including the establishment of endowed chairs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute and Rush University Medical Center.

Over the years, Billy has dedicated an immeasurable amount of time to directing and overseeing the Piccolo Fund. He can also be credited with starting a golf outing and 5K run in Brian’s name, two very successful events. Billy somehow managed to accomplish all of this while also running his own business, coaching his children’s sports teams, and even playing on a men’s soccer league until the age of 65. With no paid employees, the Piccolo Fund relies on its terrific volunteers, and much of its success to date is thanks to Billy’s dedication and hard work.

The Gavers Community Cancer Foundation has been an incredible partner to the Piccolo Fund, committing more than $1,000,000 to support breast cancer research, much of which is raised through the annual Barndance. In his true fashion, Billy volunteers at Barndance each year, along with his family. You can probably find him at registration or handing out wristbands, and when you do, please thank him for all that he has done and continues to do for cancer research

THE IVERSON FAMILY
LYNNE | BROOKE | BROCK

Grateful for the support of the Cary community through the Brock Strong campaign and of the Harvard community through the Blue for Bart benefit, Lynne Iverson has strived for ways to give back some of the support her family has received over the last several years. This includes volunteering for the Barndance last year, coming full circle to a night when Steve sat with Lynne’s husband Bart, encouraging him to fight and to never rule out second opinions, even as he and Lynne were still shell-shocked that his cancer had come back so quickly and ferociously.

Lynne Podpora was raised in McHenry; Bart Iverson was raised in Harvard. He joined the Marines and served our country during Desert Storm. They met on a softball diamond and married in 2002. They had two children, Brooke and Brock. Diagnosed with colon cancer in July 2009, Bart battled for almost two years and was even in remission for a brief time. Bart and Lynne began to create a “Bucket List” when it became clear he would not win this battle. Sadly, Bart passed away February 27, 2011, before they could tackle any of the items on their list. Bart and Lynne’s desire to give back some of the support they’d received throughout his fight against colon cancer led to several donations. Supporting colon cancer research was important to them. The promise that some of the money raised at the benefit was Bart’s only condition in agreeing to let it go on. To that end, some of the money raised was donated in his name to colon cancer research through the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation. Proud of his service in the US Marine Corp, an honorarium was established to be awarded to graduating Harvard High School seniors who enlist in the Marines.

Lynne began life as a single mom with the support of her Harvard and Cary families. The kids kept busy through football and cheerleading, baseball and horseback riding, among many other activities. They had settled in to a new routine, and Lynne had established a new normal for her family, balancing her work with the kids’ school and activities. Eight-year old Brock came down with congestion and sore throat repeatedly, going through many rounds of antibiotics through the late fall and early winter of 2014. Following the appearance of the “red dots,” a diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia was made in February 2015. Less than four years after losing her husband to this horrible disease, Lynne was again leading a fight. The all-too-familiar routine of tests, hospital stays, doctor visits and copious amounts of medications began all over again, only now for her, it was as mom rather than wife. They headed for Lurie Children’s Hospital to meet with an oncologist, and Brock began chemo within a few days of the diagnosis to begin a three-year treatment plan. She worked hard to convince Brock that people DO survive cancer; his only experience was with his father, and he believed he was going to die just as his father had. Brock’s had a PICC line and then a port. He, and his family, have endured many rounds of steroids. He’s lost and regrown his hair, had blood transfusions, and has had countless chemo treatments – some out-patient and some in-patient.

They are now two years in to a three-year treatment plan. Lynne’s fight and determination continues to provide as normal a life as possible for her family while living with another cancer diagnosis. Through it all, sister Brooke now 13, has remained Brock’s steadfast supporter and is sometimes the glue that holds things together. While Lynne Iverson herself is not a cancer survivor, she has survived and is surviving cancer. Twice. She refuses to let cancer defeat her or her family.

Brian Loprino

If you need to connect with Brian Loprino, look no further than the Public House of Woodstock. There, he can be found socializing with customers while making certain everything is served at its finest. When he’s not leading the talented team of Public House, or visiting with customers who often become friends, Brian may be out on the open road, savoring his love for motorcycles. More often, he’s off somewhere with his beautiful family. With his wife and business partner Kathryn, they may be traveling to Canada where their daughter Madison (18) is attending college at Brock University. And yet more often than not, Brian can be found on the sidelines watching son Hunter (16) who plays both Lacrosse and Football for St. Viator High School and on college prep travel teams. Of his many roles in life, Brian is most happy when he’s the proud father. He grew up in the Chicagoland area, yet now calls Woodstock home where he serves as an engaged community resident and businessman.

Sadly, life hasn’t always been without worry or loss for Brian. At the influential age of 22, Brian lost his mother to breast cancer. She was only 49. During her battle Brian’s life role was then caretaker; and he cared for his mom through to her final day. Once married
with life back on track for Brian, the ugliness of cancer returned, this time for Kathryn’s mother who was only 56 when she passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While Kathryn returned home to Canada to care for her mother, Brian’s lead role was dad as he kept their young family in routine. Years later, cancer happened still again when Kathryn’s father was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. Thankfully, that battle plan included surgery for Kathryn’s father and resulted in a cure for his condition.

Many married couples have shared experiences that make them stronger. Thankfully, few include losing mothers to cancer. While Brian and Kathryn were able to support one another during those challenging times, they never imagined the reality of facing cancer head on as they did when Brian was diagnosed over a year ago. One day Kathryn told Brian she had noticed he wasn’t himself. He had been expressing feelings of fatigue, frustration with struggles to lose weight, and various other symptoms that just didn’t add up to Brian’s “normal.” He agreed and scheduled a doctor’s appointment with a full blood panel. Thank goodness Brian performed the role of good listener, because the result of this health review was Stage 3 aggressive prostate cancer. Within moments of the news, Brian said to Kathryn, “I will beat this!” Weeks that followed were filled with multiple doctor visits, numerous consultations, and some big decision-making. Ultimately, those decisions lead Brian and his family to the doors of Rush University Medical Center. With the kind gesture of a supportive call from friends at Gaver’s Community Cancer Foundation, the journey to cure Brian’s body of this disease began. A robotic-assisted da Vinci surgery was performed. Following that, early pathology reports confirmed that the cancer had spread outside the prostate, so radiation was Brian’s next step. With 40 treatments of radiation, Brian felt fatigued and overwhelmed, yet he remained strong. If asked, he was fighting to be cured – free of cancer. Brian’s strength could be witnessed when just one day out of the hospital, determined and strong-willed he attended Hunter’s football game. Brian could do this because he believed he was given a second chance at life, more time with his beloved family, and his mind was set on winning. This personal battle was the most important role of his life. With four months passed and two doctors’ visits since Brian’s last radiation treatment, all counts have been rated zero ~ a winning score in this case! Brian will continue with bi-yearly check-ups for the next four years.

This story didn’t just end with the news of clear tests. A new story actually began when Brian declared his will to heal his body from cancer and commit himself to a healthier life. He earned his second chance. With his victory, Brian has truly embraced the complete embodiment of health, committed to a healthier lifestyle with successful weight loss and overall good health practices. A corresponding dedication to his own health and wellness is to share his experience with others. Brian is a promoter for “getting
checked,” and can often be heard advising others to make that important appointment when asked what can be done to support his efforts. He shares his new found understanding of the importance of listening to your body, asking the right questions, and addressing concerns. Brian and Kathryn feel so blessed and thankful that their story has a happy ending. Because of their journey, they are determined to continue in this most important life role – raising awareness; supporting fundraisers; service to community, family and friends – to ride our world of cancer, permanently.

Kelly Redemske

313 days ago my mom did not have Cancer. She had just driven 16 hours from Illinois to Colorado to help me begin a new adventure. Adventurous actually describes my mom extremely well. Last May she went to Hawaii and hiked 87 miles there. Not only did she hike; she kayaked, climbed waterfalls, cliff jumped, and dove out of an airplane. My mom is full of adventure and I know that nothing will ever stand in her way.

Upon returning from Hawaii, my mom found a lump in her left breast. She went in for an exam and mammogram in which nothing showed up. The lump continued to grow and so an ultrasound was done in July. Again, nothing found. She continued to feel uncomfortable and so did her gynecologist. She was advised to go and have a biopsy done just to triple check and make sure everything was really ok. On September 6th, 2016 my mom began her scariest adventure. One that none of us ever thought she would have to go through. She was diagnosed with stage 2 Breast Cancer. She had just moved me out to Colorado and my brother Ryan was back at UW Stout for school. She wasn’t alone, but I can imagine it felt something like that. She had her husband, Randy, her brother Mike, and an amazing support system to help her because Ryan and I weren’t physically there for everything. She also had an angel looking down on her from heaven to help her persevere.

With some help from some very close friends, my mom ended up at RUSH with a wonderful team of doctors. Rush is amazing in the fact that everything they do there is a team decision. This helped immensely with stress and anxiety. After her initial visit everything seemed to happen so fast. She began Chemotherapy in less than 3 weeks and it would continue for 4 months. Thank goodness for good friends who would go get her cotton candy blizzards when the Woodstock DQ was closed! Then she would go on to have a double mastectomy in February. This was a scary obstacle and furthered her journey when we found out the chemotherapy had not completely killed all of the cancerous cells. The cells were removed in surgery, but we then knew she would need radiation. Her cancer had progressed to Stage 3. Radiation was a 6 week process, which was not like going to the tanning bed at all. My mom is now a badass and has four tattoos because of it. She ended radiation on June 5th and is looking forward to getting back to normal after some final surgery in November. She has already been hiking and kayaking again. She is fearlessly moving on to her next adventure.

For those of you who know my mom, you know how much she has gone through and lost in her life. However, today is not about what she’s lost, today is about what she has gained and the strength that she has shown over not only the past year, but throughout her life. Kelly Redemske is a selfless and compassionate mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend. She has 3 kids who all love and care for her very much. She has always dedicated her time to her kids and put them before herself. My mom continues to put others first everyday. Whether it’s looking after her own mom, driving others to appointments, or visiting relatives in the nursing home, she devotes so much of her time to caring for others. She has been a part of the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation since 2005 and is now the Treasurer of this great organization. She whole-heartedly believes in everything Gavers is about, especially getting checked.

~Written by Kelly’s daughter Jenna.

See Never Be Defeated recipients from previous years